Created in 1953 by writer George Lefferts and starring Frank Sinatra in the lead, Rocky Fortune followed the exploits of a marginally employed jack-of-all-trades Rocko Fortunato, or Rocky Fortune. Considered a second-rate show even when it aired, the series found Sinatra at the nadir of popularity after his 1940s crooning heights and just before his career was rekindled with his role in From Here to Eternity.
The scripts, mostly by George Lefferts and Ernest Kinoy, often stretched the limits of believability, taking Fortune from jobs as a social director at a Catskills resort to transporting a truck of nitroglycerine across the country. Sinatra's cool, somewhat flippant persona brought the audience along for a fun ride and made it easier to overlook sometimes absurd situations.
There was little continuity over the series' run. Despite not being able to keep a job for more than a single episode, Fortune always had the license, certification, or union card necessary for the next job. The only other recurring character was the dim-witted police Sergeant Hamilton J. Finger, played by Barney Phillips, who always called his precinct headquarters "the Irish clubhouse". For reasons never fully explained, Fortune always had a direct line to the Sergeant and at times even barked orders to the beat cops under Finger's supervision.
NBC never found a sponsor for the show but the writers frequently found a way to work the title of Sinatra's new movie, From Here to Eternity, into the story. Rocky Fortune aired 25 times over 26 weeks on NBC October 6, 1953 to March 30, 1954. All the episodes are available in nice sound and represent a real treat for fans of Frank Sinatra.
From the Old Time Radio Researchers Group (OTRR). See "Notes" Section below for more information on the OTRR.
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August 15, 2019 Subject:
Theme song to Rocky Fortune
I’m not sure I agree with Charlie H about RF’s theme song. It sounds EXACTLY like the song “I Remember Harlem” from the album The Complete Verve Roy Eldridge Sessions. Check for yourselves at this YouTube link: https://youtu.be/Z1LO52Zzeyk
August 31, 2017 Subject:
Thanks for the post a must for any OTR fan.
February 8, 2014 Subject:
Opening Theme and Music Cues for RF
I've spotted a great many production music cues in "Rocky Fortune." The opening theme is from the Capitol Q library. It is NOT "Harlem Nocturne" as someone posted. It's close and could be called a knock off of it. So the RF opening theme is from Capitol Q as are several others. The macabre marchlike cue used many times in the show was also used in "Yours Truly Johnny Dollar." Why they kept using it, is a poor choice, in my humble opinion. The signature fanfare end cue was also used in "Tales of the Texas Rangers" and YTJD. How do I know all this? I have the Capitol Q library. HAW. Otherwise, this is a really great show. :) Good scripts. And it's Frankie's wisecracks that save the show. Good sound quality.
November 7, 2011 Subject:
A great show! I went into it, pulled in, as I imagine the audience of the time was, by the alure of Frank Sinatra. To my suprise, the show really stands on its own, with only very loose references to Sinatra's own career. The premise is a lot of fun, with endless means of plot and the scripts are sometimes laugh out loud funny. I'm disappointed this is not considered a larger feather in the cap of Sinatra's already huge career, as I think it is really a great show! I've found that a lot of great shows were produced in the late 40s and early 50s, but have been ignored because of the end of radio's golden age. I think they should be looked at closer, due to the likely fact that radio producers were really making a strong effort to stall radio's decline. Ah well.
August 19, 2011 Subject:
The Perfect Match
This show is the perfect match of star and material. Once you listen to it you'll know what I mean. It has toughness but not meanness (just like Sinatra). It has charm but not shallowness (just like Sinatra). The main character isn't just one particular profession (detective, doctor, etc), he does all kinds of different jobs which gives him a nice variety of settings. And you always learn a little something about the job he's doing in each episode, which makes it interesting. It doesn't have too many episodes (some shows have hundreds which is a little daunting). It's a good, well-rounded radio show that's easy to like. It's one of my favorites.
This is a fun series. The title of the song that is used for the theme is: "Harlem Nocturne"
September 13, 2008 Subject:
Sgt. J. Finger
I do think that Sinatra is a perfect Rocky Fortune with is slick personality. The stories are quite simple(look for the "bang my head with something" variation) but a 50's charm is always present. I've heard all the episodes and recommend it. The sound quality is good too. I also love the Theme music. Does anybody knows what it is?